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DUGALD STEWART (1753-1828)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 914 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DUGALD STEWART (1753-1828), Scottish philosopher, was born in Edinburgh on the 22nd of November 1753. His father, Matthew Stewart (171 1785), was professor of mathematics in the university of Edinburgh (1747–1772). Dugald Stewart waseducated in Edinburgh at the high school and the university, where he read mathematics and moral philosophy under Adam Ferguson. In 1771, in the hope of gaining a Snell exhibition and proceeding to Oxford to study for the English Church, he went to Glasgow, where he attended the classes of Thomas Reid. While he owed to Reid all his theory of morality, he repaid the debt by giving to Reid's views the advantage of his admirable style and academic eloquence. In Glasgow Stewart boarded in the same house with Archibald Alison, author of the Essay on Taste, and a lasting friendship sprang up between them. After a single session in Glasgow, Dugald Stewart, at the age of nineteen, was summoned by his father, whose health was beginning to fail, to conduct the mathematical classes in the university of Edinburgh. After acting three years as his father's substitute he was elected professor of mathematics in conjunction with him in 1775. Three years later Adam Ferguson was appointed secretary to the commissioners sent out to the American colonies, and at his urgent request Stewart lectured as his substitute. Thus during the session 1778–1779, in addition to his mathematical work, he delivered an original course of lectures on morals. In 1783 he married Helen Bannatyne, who died in 1787, leaving an only son, Colonel Matthew Stewart. In 1785 he succeeded Ferguson in the chair of moral philosophy, which he filled for a quarter of a century and made a centre of intellectual and moral influence. Young men were attracted by his reputation from England, and even from the Continent and America. Among his pupils were Sir Walter Scott, Jeffrey, Cockburn, Francis Horner, Sydney Smith, Lord Brougham, Dr Thomas Brown, James Mill, Sir James Mackintosh and Sir Archibald Alison. The course on moral philosophy embraced, besides ethics.proper, lectures on political philosophy or the theory of government, and from 1800 onwards a separate course of lectures was delivered on political economy, then almost unknown as a science to the general public. Stewart's enlightened political teaching was sufficient, in the times of reaction succeeding the French Revolution, to draw upon him the undeserved suspicion of disaffection to the constitution. The summers of 1788 and 1789 he spent in France, where he met Suard, Degerando, Raynal, and learned to sympathize with the revolutionary movement. In 1790 Stewart married a second time. Miss Cranstoun, who became his wife, was a lady of birth and accomplishments, and he was in the habit of submitting to her criticism whatever he wrote. A son and a daughter were the issue of this marriage. The death of the former in 1809 was a severe blow to his father, and was the immediate cause of his retirement from the active duties of his chair. Before that, however, Stewart had not been idle as an author. As a student in Glasgow he wrote an essay on Dreaming. In 1792 he published the first volume of the Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind; the second volume appeared in 1814, and the third not till 1827. In 1793 he printed a textbook, Outlines of Moral Philosophy, which went through many editions; and in the same year he read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh his account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith. Similar memoirs of Robertson the historian and of Reid were afterwards read before the same body and appear in his published works. In 18o5 Stewart published pamphlets defending Mr (afterwards Sir John) Leslie against the charges of unorthodoxy made by the presbytery of Edinburgh. In 1806 he received in lieu of a pension the nominal office of the writership of the Edinburgh Gazette, with a salary of £300. When the shock of his son's death incapacitated him from lecturing during the session of 1809–1810, his place was taken, at his own request, by Dr Thomas Brown, who in 1810 was appointed conjoint professor. On the death of Brown in 1820 Stewart retired altogether from the professorship, which was conferred upon John Wilson, better known as " Christopher North." From 1809 onwards Stewart lived mainly at Kinneil House, Linlithgowshire, which was placed at his disposal by the duke of Hamilton. In 18ro appeared the Philosophical Essays, in 1814 the second volume of the Elements, in 1815 the first part and in 1821 the second part of the " Dissertation " written for the Encyclopaedia Britannica " Supplement," entitled " A General View of the Progress of Metaphysical, ' the historical interest of having preceded Sir John Harington's translation (1591). The volume containing this version and other poems (of indifferent quality) is preserved in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. It bears the title Ane Abbregement of Roland Fvriovs, translait ovt of Aroist: togither vith sym Rapsodies of the Avthor's yovthfvll braine, and last ane Schersing ovt of trew Felicitie; composit in Scotia meiter be J. Stewart of Baldynneis. . This MS. appears to be the original which was once in the possession of James VI. Extracts are printed in Irving's History of Scotish Poetry (1861).
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